What’s the Ides of March and Why Should I Care?
Well, the “ides of March” is simply another name for March 15th. It coincides with the 74th day on the Roman calendar and was apparently a big deal in ancient Roman times to settle up on debt.
Ahhhh…..debt. That’s why you should care.
We’re half way through March already–when was the last time you looked at your finances.
Is Christmas paid off yet?
How about those high heating bills through the winter months? It all adds up fast.
I know. It can be scary stuff. Let’s just take it step by step.
Debt–What is it Really?
Well, it means you owe money. Yup, it’s really that simple.
How Much Debt Do you Have?
Let’s cut this down into several categories:
- credit card debt
- personal loans from bank or credit institution
- line of credit through bank or credit institution
- private financing
- student loans
- friends and family
- tax debt
- payday loan debt
- medical debt
Take a look at each of these and make a list of how much debt you have against each of these. Is there other debt? Mortgage? Unpaid rent? Oh my goodness, it can sneak up fast and furious if you don’t keep an eye on it.
Be honest. It doesn’t help you to fudge the numbers. $595 is not the same as “about $500″…
Do you know what interest you’re paying? The minimum payments? Are any in collections?
The First Thing is…
Don’t incur anymore debt.
Stop and let that sink in. In fact, you should go back and read it again.
Go Get the Scissors
Cut up every credit card you can.
I know everyone’s situation is different and having a credit card is essential for obtaining emergency purchases, but that doesn’t mean you need twelve other credit cards.
Get rid of the department store cards, the gas cards, and any secondary cards (you don’t need a Visa, a MasterCard and an Amex). Chose one and nix the rest.
Are You Still With Me?
Are you still reading or have you walked away and thrown your arms up in frustration.
Hey, I remember living from paycheck to paycheck. In fact, it got to a point where one paycheck would go into the back and that would pay off the overdraft and I’d be right back down again within a day or two.
That’s not a fun way to live. With the current global situation it’s tough finding a job, let alone getting all your debt paid down. Many young people are back living with their parents and are struggling to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Finances can suck, but life doesn’t have to. There are great agencies out there that will help you get a handle on your debt. That’s way better than listening to me. I’m an Auntie and I care but I’m not a financial advisor.
Best Bang for Your Buck?
I’d say the best investment is always in something tangible and lasting –like a house or property.
One time I decided not to look at any advertising and only purchase what I needed. Wow. It made a big difference. I grocery shopped with a list and it really cut back on the impulse buying because I stayed out of the stores and at the end of the month it really made a difference.
It’s amazing how much we spend without even realizing it.
Beware the Online Shopping
It’s so dang addicting isn’t it? It can be fun to go around and put things in your cart the key is don’t checkout.
Yes, you understood correctly. In order to save money, don’t check out. Leave the stuff in your cart and walk away. Chances are you’ll return the next day and realize you don’t need all the “stuff”. Try it. Shop then walk….or Stay off online shopping sites.
Just One More Thing…
Stay away from Payday loan places. Biggest rip-off EVER!!
Go get an account at a bank and save hundred–if not thousands–of dollars.
Is Auntie Finished with the Boring Lecture Yet?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m almost done. But I still have to put a few more cents in when I have the opportunity.
First: don’t borrow or lend money to a friend… unless you want to lose the friend.
Second: no payday loans
Third: get rid of the credit cards and unnecessary shopping.
Fourth–Talk to a professional debt counsellor. Do it sooner than later. The longer you leave it, the more interest accrues on your loan.
Fifth: Go Back and Read 1, 2, 3, and 4
My Last Words…
Here are a couple of links for you to check out. If they’re not the correct ones for your area they’ll give you a starting point. What are you waiting for? Get going.
Canada: Credit Counselling Society
USA: NonProfit Free Credit and Debt Advice
Sometimes we need strict talking to before we act. With finances and debt it can’t and shouldn’t be, put off or ignored. It needs to be tackled sooner rather than later. The stress and mental health strain that comes from debt and the uncertainty it can cause is huge and you need to try and take charge now. I know you can do it. If you’re not in Canada or the USA then google where you can get some free advice on how to get out of debt. It may be the first step towards independence.
3 thoughts on “The Ides of March. A Perfect Time to Look at Finances and Settle Debt.”
great advice, and good to put into action for many reasons.
when i sold my last home and moved to my new home, i paid off everything, except for a small mortgage, and only use one credit card, which i pay in full each month. took 20 years of stress off my life.
So smart! Carrying all that debt become pretty cumbersome very quickly. I glad we’ll have you around all that extra time.